Results tagged ‘ november 25 ’

November 25 – Happy Birthday Mark Whiten

MWhiten“Hard Hittin” Mark Whiten had his career year in 1993. On the final day of spring training that season, this then, 25-year-old, switch-hitting native of Pensacola, FL was traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Cardinals. He joined a starting outfield in St.Louis that included Bernard Gilkey and Ray Lankford and he led that team with 25 home runs and 99 RBIs. On September 7, 1993 he made baseball history by smashing 4 home runs and driving in 12 runs in a single game.

The Players Strike disrupted Whiten’s second season with the Cards and there would be no third. He was traded to Boston at the start of the ’95 season, which began an odyssey that would put the outfielder in six different big league uniforms over the next four years. The fifth of those uniforms was pinstriped. The Yankees signed Whiten as a free agent in January of 1997. In New York, he was reunited with Joe Torre, the same guy who managed him during his career year with the Cardinals.

Torre began the season by platooning Whiten and Darryl Strawberry in left field. Big Mark got off to a great start at the plate and was still hitting over .300 the first week of June. But when Strawberry went down with a bad knee, it would be Tim Raines who took over as the team’s starter in left. Whiten was left to battle Chad Curtis for the fourth outfielder’s slot and when Curtis won that battle, the Yanks released Whiten that August. He then signed on with Cleveland and appeared in his last big league game as an Indian in 2000.

Whiten shares his November 25th birthday with this former Yankee infielder, this recent Yankee outfielder and  this Hall-of-Fame Yankee center fielder.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1997 NYY 69 248 215 34 57 11 0 5 24 4 30 47 .265 .360 .386 .746
11 Yrs 940 3523 3104 465 804 129 20 105 423 78 378 712 .259 .341 .415 .756
CLE (5 yrs) 320 1167 1024 142 265 49 8 23 103 22 126 218 .259 .343 .390 .732
PHI (2 yrs) 120 461 394 71 100 18 1 18 58 20 64 125 .254 .361 .442 .802
STL (2 yrs) 244 1000 896 138 240 31 6 39 152 25 95 185 .268 .338 .446 .784
TOR (2 yrs) 79 260 237 24 57 5 4 4 26 2 18 49 .241 .292 .346 .638
ATL (1 yr) 36 107 90 12 23 5 1 3 17 2 16 25 .256 .364 .433 .798
BOS (1 yr) 32 117 108 13 20 3 0 1 10 1 8 23 .185 .239 .241 .480
NYY (1 yr) 69 248 215 34 57 11 0 5 24 4 30 47 .265 .360 .386 .746
SEA (1 yr) 40 163 140 31 42 7 0 12 33 2 21 40 .300 .399 .607 1.006
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/24/2013.

November 25 – Happy Birthday Joe DiMaggio

Today is like a holy day of obligation for Big Apple sports enthusiasts. On this date in 1916, the “Great DiMaggio” was born in Martinez, CA.  He was and probably still is one of the most revered athletes in our country and perhaps the world. As a kid growing up, all I knew about DiMaggio was based on his statistics as a player, the nostalgic observations of sportswriters and the often embellished memories of the older generation of Yankee fans who were my neighbors on the west end of Amsterdam. While his stats indeed indicated DiMaggio was a great player, the latter two sources considered him a “God.” In fact, during my childhood, one of the most frequently heard lines in any argument between a young fan of Mickey Mantle and an older fan of Joe DiMaggio was  “Mantle couldn’t carry DiMaggio’s jock strap.”

I’ve since read quite a few books about DiMaggio and about the Yankees during the DiMaggio era. The last one I read was the critical 2001 biography by Ben Cramer. I’ve come to the conclusion that much of the aura that surrounded the Yankee Clipper was based on his amazing baseball skills and achievements. But a large part of it was also due to the fact that the New York and national sports media of his era worshiped the guy and Joe maneuvered that worship brilliantly.  This level of celebrity pandering by the media has become much less possible because today’s athletes get too much exposure. For example, Yankee fans can watch their team play every single spring training, regular and postseason game on high definition, big-screen TVs. Sportswriters are no longer free to embellish something that everyone is seeing with their own eyes. The Internet and the proliferation of sports bloggers has also made hiding a star player’s off-the-field behavior nearly impossible. Just ask A-Rod.

I would have loved to watch Joe DiMaggio play the game but I didn’t get the opportunity. As a die hard Yankee fan, I celebrate his accomplishments. But I believe the truth is that DiMaggio eventually got wrapped up in his own press clippings to the point that he actually believed he was perfect and that everyone else was out to get him. It was the pressure of maintaining that image that made DiMaggio a bitter man, the superstar who would not say a single word to a young Mickey Mantle during the Mick’s rookie season, who thought Casey Stengel was trying to embarrass him into retirement, and who pretty much abandoned his only son. Why is it that people who have so much going for them have such a difficult time just being happy?

Several years ago, I took my boys to a Yankee game and we were sitting next to a young Yankee fan who loved Don Mattingly. He knew everything about the then current team but not so much about Yankee history so when he told me that Mattingly was a better hitter than Mantle was, I couldn’t help myself. I found myself saying, “Son, Mattingly couldn’t carry Mickey Mantle’s jock strap.” I have to admit the line felt good coming out of my mouth until the completely unfazed kid responded with “What’s a jock strap, mister?”

DiMaggio shares his November 25th birthday with this former Yankee infielder, this Yankee outfielder and this more recent Yankee outfielder.

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1936 NYY 138 669 637 132 206 44 15 29 125 4 24 39 .323 .352 .576 .928
1937 NYY 151 692 621 151 215 35 15 46 167 3 64 37 .346 .412 .673 1.085
1938 NYY 145 660 599 129 194 32 13 32 140 6 59 21 .324 .386 .581 .967
1939 NYY 120 524 462 108 176 32 6 30 126 3 52 20 .381 .448 .671 1.119
1940 NYY 132 572 508 93 179 28 9 31 133 1 61 30 .352 .425 .626 1.051
1941 NYY 139 622 541 122 193 43 11 30 125 4 76 13 .357 .440 .643 1.083
1942 NYY 154 680 610 123 186 29 13 21 114 4 68 36 .305 .376 .498 .875
1946 NYY 132 567 503 81 146 20 8 25 95 1 59 24 .290 .367 .511 .878
1947 NYY 141 601 534 97 168 31 10 20 97 3 64 32 .315 .391 .522 .913
1948 NYY 153 669 594 110 190 26 11 39 155 1 67 30 .320 .396 .598 .994
1949 NYY 76 329 272 58 94 14 6 14 67 0 55 18 .346 .459 .596 1.055
1950 NYY 139 606 525 114 158 33 10 32 122 0 80 33 .301 .394 .585 .979
1951 NYY 116 482 415 72 109 22 4 12 71 0 61 36 .263 .365 .422 .787
13 Yrs 1736 7673 6821 1390 2214 389 131 361 1537 30 790 369 .325 .398 .579 .977
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/24/2013.

November 25 – Happy Birthday Bucky Dent

Russell Earl Dent was a very good defensive shortstop who helped solidify the middle of the Yankee infield when New York acquired him from the White Sox in an April, 1977 trade. Bucky was one of those players who never seemed to be featured in the headlines or a post game report. He just gave his team solid and steady play both in the field and at the plate, game after game. But in one brief shining moment, Bucky Dent became a pinstripe legend, and gave all Yankee fans a thrill that will forever be cited as one of the top moments in franchise history. His home run against Red Sox starter Mike Torrez in the 1978 playoff game to decide the AL East division race, just cleared the top of Fenway’s Green Monster, simultaneously bringing Boston’s dejected left fielder, Carl Yastrzemski to his knees and millions of Yankee fans, screaming in sheer ecstasy, to their feet. Dent’s blast gave the Yankees a lead they never relinquished and they went on to capture their second consecutive World Championship that season. Bucky remained hot in that Fall Classic against the Dodgers, hitting .417, driving in 7 runs and winning the Series MVP award.

He continued to start at shortstop for New York for the next three and a half years before getting traded to Texas for outfielder, Lee Mazzilli, during the 1982 season. In all, the Savannah, Georgia native played for twelve seasons in the big leagues, retiring in 1984 with 1,114 career hits and a .247 lifetime batting average. He then got into coaching, started a very successful baseball instructional school and actually piloted the Yankees for parts of the 1988 and ’89 seasons. I personally will never forget sitting in front of my television set on that early October afternoon in 1978 and hearing Yankee announcer Bill White call out the words “Deep to left…”

Bucky shares his November 25th birthday with this guy, this guy and this guy too.

Here are Dent’s Yankee and career playing stats:

Year Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1977 NYY 158 540 477 54 118 18 4 8 49 1 39 28 .247 .300 .352 .653
1978 NYY 123 415 379 40 92 11 1 5 40 3 23 24 .243 .286 .317 .603
1979 NYY 141 490 431 47 99 14 2 2 32 0 37 30 .230 .287 .285 .573
1980 NYY 141 553 489 57 128 26 2 5 52 0 48 37 .262 .327 .354 .681
1981 NYY 73 258 227 20 54 11 0 7 27 0 19 17 .238 .300 .379 .679
1982 NYY 59 173 160 11 27 1 1 0 9 0 8 11 .169 .207 .188 .395
12 Yrs 1392 5026 4512 451 1114 169 23 40 423 17 328 349 .247 .297 .321 .618
NYY (6 yrs) 695 2429 2163 229 518 81 10 27 209 4 174 147 .239 .295 .324 .618
CHW (4 yrs) 509 1973 1777 168 462 64 11 10 165 10 117 159 .260 .305 .325 .631
TEX (2 yrs) 177 614 563 52 131 24 2 3 48 3 36 41 .233 .278 .298 .577
KCR (1 yr) 11 10 9 2 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 .333 .400 .333 .733
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/24/2013.

Here are Dent’s stats as Yankee manager:

Rk Year Tm Lg W L W-L% G Finish
1 1989 New York Yankees AL 2nd of 2 18 22 .450 40 5
2 1990 New York Yankees AL 1st of 2 18 31 .367 49 7
2 years 36 53 .404 89 6.0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/24/2013.